The Anthropology of Coffee, Portland State University

After almost a decade of research and travel in the field, I put together a unit on the Anthropology of Coffee, covering coffee cultures and traditions around the world throughout history.

This interactive course offered a more in-depth look at research completed for my book Spill the Beans: Global Coffee Culture.

The inaugural offering of this unit by PSU’s History Department was in Spring 2023 and garnered rave reviews from students.

“Lani is extremely knowledgeable about coffee, its origins, the people who cultivate it, and the ways it impacts the world. She created a very engaging learning environment by bringing in tastings of coffees that are not typically available in this area of the world, and introduced different ways that other cultures drink theirs.

I was a barista for several years at several smaller coffee shops who source their beans very carefully, and I learned way more in this class than I did during my entire time working with coffee.

I loved this class very much and would encourage anyone to take it in a heartbeat!”

Winter Term 2023 Student

“I LOVED this class! It was a very enjoyable experience – like an intensive workshop. Lani brought coffees to taste as expected, but she also brought so many completely different coffee-like beverages from around the world and it was so cool to be able to actually taste each drink after learning about them. The materials were diverse (lecture, slides, videos, activities) which made it easy to pay attention and highly engaging, and as a lecturer, she was active and encouraged participation.”

Winter Term 2023 Student